CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kenny Williams scored 18 points and defending national champion North Carolina took its time before opening up, beating Lipscomb 84-66 Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Theo Pinson had 15 points and flirted with a triple-double for the Tar Heels (26-10), the No. 2 seed in the West Region.
Playing for the first time in the NCAA tourney, the 15th-seeded Bisons (23-10) shot well at the start and held an early six-point edge. They led 33-31 with under four minutes left in the first half before North Carolina went on a 12-1 run to take control by the break.
UNC won its 12th NCAA game in 13 tries going back to the 2016 tournament that ended with a title-game loss to Villanova.
Williams had played only spot duty that season and missed last year’s title run due to an injury. He made 6 of 8 shots Friday and 4 of 5 3s, helping the Tar Heels shoot 52 percent while making nine 3s.
Kenny Cooper scored 14 points for the Bisons, who made just 7 of 28 3-pointers.
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review's sports newsletter
Get the day's top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.